Our 2014 Cafe of the Year is Rosie
What makes Rosie, just up from the Rose Gardens in Parnell, our Cafe of the Year? Let’s start with the menu, on which pretty much everything is carefully and originally conceived, and based on foods the company — yes, this is a Hip Group enterprise — grows and raises itself.
Grapefruit, in season, comes with burnt pear powder, organic honey and curd. You can order eggs benedict, but it’s green eggs benedict. Omelette is made with smoked fish, herbs and a “caper salad”. Aficionados of Ortolana and other Hip cafe/restaurants will know that omelette, like some of the other dishes on the menu, is a staple across the group.
But Rosie is no mere suburban outpost. Oh no. There’s a great, ever-replenishing array of counter-top baking and a whole bunch of menu flourishes they rightly call their own. Hats off to head chef Mike de Vries, pictured above.
The juices change all the time, and some of the combos are to die for. Our advice: ask for beetroot and ginger. They also list five sorts of smoothie, including leaf and grain, superberry and flaxseed, and a “breakfast” smoothie of date, almond, cardomom and ricotta. Well, they call it breakfast, but it’s more like nectar of the gods, in our view.
The furniture, by Douglas and Bec, features beautiful blond wood with woven latticework, and is beautiful. As always with a Hip place, the light fixtures are a delight. Rosie is set on the Gladstone Rd ridge, looking out to the north and across to the gardens, and the room is smartly designed to take advantage of all that, with big window walls that slide open. Perfect for its setting.
So, here’s an Auckland Saturday. Breakfast at Rosie — rhubarb with nut granola, perhaps, and coffee and juice and maybe a pastry — followed by a stroll through the Rose Gardens, maybe heading down to Judges Bay where, if you skirt round the Parnell Baths you can traverse the sleek beauty of the Warren and Mahoney-designed Pt Resolution footbridge and wander around Tamaki Drive, just as far as you like.
When it’s closing in on lunchtime, you retrace your steps to Rosie and order, because you’ve earned it, the buttermilk fried chicken with celeriac slaw. Maybe a little glass of something. Or maybe not: they’ve got white tea with carnation flower and it’s hard to ignore. After lunch, repeat, with a swim in the baths or the sea, or even a kayak trip from Okahu Bay. Dinner? Well, Rosie is open for dinner too…
Must-try: Smashed eggs, feta and pickled pumpkin vinaigrette.
82 Gladstone Rd